Coach, GM a good fit in Flint

February 25, 2024

Rookie head coach Paul Flache and first year general manager Dave McParlan have been rewarded by the Flint Firebirds of the Ontario Hockey League with multi-year contract extensions.

Flint, which is in a torrid four team race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference of the OHL with the Erie Otters, Sarnia Sting and Windsor Spitfires, has been set up well for the stretch run of this season and well beyond by Flache, McParlan and Firebirds head scout Mike Oliverio, who is based in Sault Ste. Marie.

Firebirds owner Rolf Nilsen gave the thumbs up to the contract extensions to his head coach and GM.

“We are excited to have Paul and Dave remain at the helm of our organization,” said Nilsen. “I strongly believe they have done a great job.  We have seen our players develop both as athletes and as young men, which is a credit to their leadership. We are committed to building a championship organization and Paul and Dave are key components to achieving our goals.”

McParlan was promoted to the GM position early last summer. He had previously been the Firebirds assistant GM and head scout dating back to 2015 when Flint became an OHL franchise following relocation from Plymouth and the former Whalers program. McParlan also worked in a scouting capacity for Plymouth and has been a part of the OHL for close to 20 years.

A low key individual who mostly lets his work do the talking, McParlan noted that he is “thrilled to continue to be a part of the organization moving forward. I am grateful to Rolf and the team management for their confidence in our group, and I am excited to continue working with Paul moving forward.”

McParlan also noted the work done by the Flint scouting staff, led by the aforementioned Mike Oliverio and a collection of scouts that also includes Sault Ste. Marie native Freddie Coccimiglio, who is now based in the Niagara region.

“Our scouts have done an amazing job,” relayed McParlan. “They make my job easy.”

McParlan had further good words of praise for Flache, his hand picked head coach.

“Paul has worked through an immense amount of adversity this season and the way he has handled it has been remarkable,” McParlan said. “When you look at the injuries he has dealt with and the drastic change of personnel to the roster, to have the team in the position it is in right now is impressive. He has us where we hoped we would be when we made our moves at the trade deadline, firmly in the playoff race.”

Flache, to be sure, is regarded as an up and coming bench boss who played 190 games in the OHL for the erstwhile Brampton Battalion under the tutelage of time honoured head coach Stan Butler, who is now with Erie.

“I’m thankful to Rolf, Dave and the organization for the opportunity to be in this position,” Flache said. “Our coaching staff, support staff and the entire team has been great to work with. To have the chance to continue in this position is something my family and I are grateful for.”

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